By Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor
So, we're less than a month away from CompTIA Breakaway, that organization's biggest event of the year. In 2011, the channel will be headed to downtown Washington, D.C., where a wide swath of VARs, MSPs, vendors, and other industry players will gather from Aug. 1-4.
Now, obviously, I'd love to have you all visit us at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 2, for my panel discussion on how to gain more value from today's distributor partners (they are not the distributors of years gone by!), but there is way more going on that week.
I had the chance to talk with Kelly Ricker, VP of Events and Education for CompTIA, and gain a sneak peek at what will be new at Breakaway 2011. Ricker shared with me that the event is highly focused on education, training, and fun. Training opportunities include Healthcare IT (HIT) and security (both basic and intermediate) training, as well as education related to the ongoing opportunities found in the legal and government IT verticals.
Other opportunities for gaining insight about both technology and growing your IT business include a cloud training track. If you commit to all five modules in the training (included in your registration fee!), you will leave CompTIA Breakaway with a cloud certification. If you can't, CompTIA will help coordinate the next steps in the training process. Attendees can also access a workshop on the CompTIA Security Trustmark program, which will include access to tools and templates you will need to earn that Trustmark accreditation.
Ricker adds that Breakaway strives to offer something for everyone in attendance. For the first time, vendors can participate in their own four-session vendor track, which includes training from IT ChannelMasters. She reminded me that everything on the agenda at Breakaway is included in the registration fee (which is zero for members). If you aren't a member, check out this chance to join the organization – membership is part of the registration package.
Along with the intense training and education available at the event, Ricker pointed out a returning favorite — the Channel Chiefs Panel — will again be offered. This year's panelists include reps from Microsoft, Motorola, Juniper, Acer, and AMD. There will also be two keynotes. President of CompTIA, Todd Thibodeaux, will share his vision for the upcoming year, and Peter Sheahan, founder of ChangeLabs, will offer advice on turning good ideas into great results.
Now, let's not forget Ricker's promise of FUN — outings include a "Night at the Newseum," a museum filled with hands-on exhibits that take you behind the scenes of the world's most significant news-making moments; the annual Breakaway awards dinner; and a performance by the famed political satire group, The Capitol Steps.
Hope to see you all there!